Are you paying too much for Telecom Service?
by Kenneth C. Barrios, Sr.
The following article discusses telecom service, including how to identify if you are paying too much for telecom service, the importance of telecom auditing as a standard good practice for all companies. It discusses why bills are inaccurate, the hazards of not auditing telecom invoices often, and the financial benefits for having done so.
Are you paying too much for Telecom Service?
You might be. Many organizations today are overpaying for telecom service because their bills contain errors, possibly for years. They are paying for services they no longer use, or are overpaying for a simple service. They rely on the service providers to have quality checks in place, and look out for the best interest of their customers. Unfortunately, this is not the way the telecom industry operates.
“It’s possible your telecom service bills today are incorrect, and you have been overpaying for service for some time.”
Why are telecom billing errors missed?
The answer is poor quality control from the telecom service providers and lack of telecom expense management from the customers. Very few billing mistakes arise from software or mechanical failure. On the rare occasions when these do occur, they rapidly impact thousands of customers simultaneously, are found and fixed quickly.
The majority of telecom service billing errors, however, are sporadic, inconsistent and difficult to spot. They result from human error and oversight The telecom billing system is not designed to screen individual bills for accuracy before they are dispatched. As a result, incorrect bills slip through the cracks, leaving customers to dispute errors, if they find them.
Finding errors is not simple. Most corporations are focused on keeping their businesses online and working properly. They don’t look closely at their bills. Technicians, who are not billing experts, do not take the time do to a billing review. Reviewing invoices for accuracy often falls to the accounting department.
Telecom errors easily elude accounting teams. This is because telecom invoices are highly complicated. Reading a telephone bill can be like hieroglyphics. At times you feel like you need secret decoder ring just to get past the first page. It requires special training and years of experience to the intricacies of a telecom bill. Most account payable specialists today lack the industry specific tariff training to identify tariff billing errors. They can resolve that the bill matches the contract, but they cannot validate all the charges, leaving errors unnoticed.
The Statute of Limitations Paradox
It is important to find any errors in your telecom service bills as soon as possible. Overpayments are non-refundable if they are outside the statute of limitations, making losses permanent.
“If your telecom bills contain errors, you may already have lost some rights to your refund or even worse, have a ticking expense bomb in your hands”.
Many telecom service contracts have embedded a 60 to 120 day “look back” statute of limitations in which you can claim, credit or dispute your bill. This includes claims for Service Level Agreement (SLA) violation such as claiming credit for outages; overage charges; cancelled services that continue to bill; misapplied taxes; over payment and fees and alike.
However, you only are entitled to receive refunds based on the statute of limitations. For example, if you just discovered you have been over billed for 5-years, you can only dispute 60-120 days, depending on the carrier’s terms and conditions, for a refund.
Conversely, the telecom provider is not confined to any statue of limitations. A telecom provider can legally seek payment for under-billing all the way back to the beginning of service term, without limitation. As a customer, this can mean you suddenly owe thousands of additional dollars on your next invoice without notice. By all rights, the carrier is due for services rendered without argument; however large, unforeseen and crippling it can be to your cash flow.
How to find errors in your telecom service bills?
Technology and expense management (TEM) is a service which pro-actively monitors and controls technology expenses with the goal of reducing risk and costs. Technology firms like i-Tech Support, offer complimentary telecom expense management (TEM) services for business with their managed IT support plans.
One element of the TEM service is a Telecom Expense Audit – a free service through i-Tech Support. Here a certified expert, trained in the tariff billing, scrutinizes your contract versus your invoices, reviews your telecom bills for errors, overcharges, contract violations, and recommends ways to optimize your environment and reduce spending.
A Telecom Expense Audit can save you up to 7-25%, and it’s free!
Studies show that an average 7% to 25% in telecom savings can be found on the first audit alone. Not bad for a free service! Besides savings, a telecom audit helps organizations:
- Improve profits via refunds and reduced monthly expenses.
- Eliminate fraud and unauthorized charges
- Realize more efficient use of employee time
- Increase accuracy in expense tracking and reporting
- Achieve financial goals through no-risk investment models
Ideally, you should perform an audit once per year. It is a simple measure to protect your business investment and improve your profitability. Consider it part of your annual business checkup!
Kenneth C. Barrios, Sr. is a 20-year telecom veteran with many years of experience working with telecom carriers. Based in of Orlando, Florida, his company Rhema-TECH, LLC., consults with area businesses regarding every facet of the telecom industry. He is a telecom consultant for i-Tech Support, Board Member of the Orlando Technology Group and is active in many philanthropic charities. Direct: 407-961-1960 eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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